eMarketer estimates that US programmatic digital display ad spending will leap 48.9% this year to hit $14.88 billion, or 55.0% of total digital display ad spend. While the majority of those dollars will likely focus on direct-response efforts, April 2015 research by Econsultancy in association with Quantcast finds that programmatic branding adoption is relatively high, and spending will rise in the coming years.
Among UK and US senior marketers polled, 62% said their companies ran programmatic advertising campaigns for branding objectives. What was holding back nearly four in 10 non-users from buying in, or existing users from investing further? Data privacy concerns and difficulty proving return on investment were the two most common issues, each cited by 23% of respondents. Lack of quality data (18%), a complex marketplace (17%) and lack of transparency (16%) rounded out the top five.
When asked about the benefits of using programmatic for branding, respondents were most likely to cite increased efficiency, reduced overall advertising costs and the ability to optimize and target the right audience in real time as “major” benefits. Among all benefits included, at least 45% of respondents rated them highly beneficial.
In terms of budget, marketers were most likely to allot between 31% and 40% of programmatic spend to brand-focused campaigns. However, Econsultancy expected this to shift in the coming years, with marketers intending to increase their investment in programmatic branding campaigns by 37% on average by 2017.
Research by Chango conducted in September 2014 found that while retargeting and acquisition was the No. 1 goal that marketers in North America and the UK were trying to achieve via programmatic advertising, branding ranked a close second, at 75% vs. 72%. And programmatic branding may be even more important for the retail industry specifically. When March 2015 polling by WBR Digital asked US retail industry marketers about the goals they were trying to achieve via programmatic advertising, improving brand awareness was the No. 1 response, cited by 92%. However, this fell when it came to business goals that had actually been achieved by programmatic campaigns. Here, improving brand awareness ranked second to last, cited by a still-impressive 75%.